Jobs, Obama, and Bush

Here are two charts concerning job losses and gains. The first represents the time shortly before President Obama took office until roughly today:

And this next one represents the recession faced by Bush, plus a comparable period of following years as compared to the previous chart:

via Paul Krugman

Presidential rankings

My bottom five, the final one (Buchanan) being the worst:

G.W. Bush
Pierce
Fillmore
A. Johnson
Buchanan

Though I do like that Dubya moved daylight savings around.

Limbaugh, Republicans, and Lies

I heard Rush Limbaugh talk about death panels today. He’s a rhetorical, moronic machine. Not ten minutes later, just after a commercial break, a caller explained what the bill actually says. He noted that it primarily and merely offers to pay for doctor visits for those who wish to discuss end-of-life care. This primarily concerns those who have been given terminal diagnoses. As it stands, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover this visits. People, should they CHOOSE, to speak with their doctors over their end-of-life care, they should not have to pay out of pocket.

After the called explained this, Limbaugh claimed that he never uses the term “death panel”, except in quoting that gem of genuine stupidity that is Sarah Palin. He is a liar. A huge, fucking liar. He uses the term regularly, including just moments early on that very airing. This sort of behavior is highly typical of Republicans and conservatives. Lie, lie, lie. No need to help those who aren’t already wealthy.

I think a lot of this, to be frank, dumbness, comes from Reagan. He encouraged economic policies of “trickling-down” money from the rich to the poor. It predictably failed. It caused the economic downturn in the early 90’s. Clinton corrected a lot of this. Then Dubya went ahead and messed things up again. Now it is left to a Democrat to YET AGAIN clean up this inanity.

It’s possible to identify, again and again, why Republican policies are complete and utter failures. But to say why they are so stupid about everything is beyond me.

Obama continues to fix the errors of Bush

Scientists will be allowed to make the guidelines surrounding use of embryonic stem cells.

The government issued final rules Monday expanding taxpayer-funded research using embryonic stem cells, easing scientists’ fears that some of the oldest batches might not qualify and promising a master list of all that do.

President Barack Obama lifted previous restrictions on the field in March, but left it to the National Institutes of Health to decide just what stem cell research was ethically appropriate: Only science that uses cells culled from leftover fertility clinic embryos — ones that otherwise would be thrown away — the agency made clear in draft guidelines.

This is precisely how it should be. It is those well versed in science who should be making the relevant decisions within science. Politicians rarely ever know much of anything about how science needs to work. This is doubly true for Republicans. So it comes as no surprise that it has taken the election of Democrats to at least get a few things right.

Good call

Another anti-science Bush position falls.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it would accept, not appeal, a federal judge’s order that lifts Bush administration restrictions limiting over-the-counter sales of “Plan B” to women 18 and older. U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled last month in a lawsuit filed in New York that President George W. Bush’s appointees let politics, not science, drive their decision to restrict over-the-counter access.

This is good news. Bush’s wholly wrong politics were harming what should have been yet another good result of good science.

Plan B is emergency contraception that contains a high dose of birth control drugs and will not interfere with an established pregnancy. It works by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In medical terms, pregnancy begins when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus.

If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can reduce a woman’s chances of pregnancy by as much as 89 percent.

Critics of the contraceptive say Plan B is the equivalent of an abortion pill because it can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Recent research suggests that’s possible but not likely.

Plan B prevents fertilization. Abortion is defined as acting after fertilization. For instance, God should be known as the number 1 abortionists by those who believe he exists.

Conservatives, as usual, get this wrong. They suggest that this is about parental rights while, again, asserting an exalted state of reverence for a grouping of a few differeniated cells. I personally think the walking, breathing, thinking, highly conscious women should have rights, not a couple cells, but hey, I’m just reasonable. I know that isn’t the conservative motif.

In reality, parents should have no place in making these decisions with their children who are of age to have sex. The state says they’re responsible enough to do that, then they must be responsible enough to deal with all the surrounding factors that come with it. Of course, going beyond that, this medicine is approved for over-the-counter use. As long as parents have no say in their children’s ability to buy Tylenol, they should have no say in their ability to buy Plan B.

Opponents, including prominent conservatives, counter that it would encourage promiscuity and might even become a tool for criminals running prostitution rings, as well as for sexual predators.

These people are eminently stupid. Let’s ban condoms, the pill, and the pull-out method, too. Clearly, the pimp business should dictate science.

Embyonic stem cells

The FDA has approved a study which will inject embyonic stem cells into humans.

The Geron corporation announce the approval today. The therapy used in the study is designed to treat spinal cord injuries by injecting stem cells — which are able to transform into the many different types of cells we need in our bodies — directly into the patients’ spinal cords.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted clearance of the company’s application for the clinical trial of GRNOPC1 in patients with acute spinal cord injury.

“This marks the beginning of what is potentially a new chapter in medical therapeutics – one that reaches beyond pills to a new level of healing: the restoration of organ and tissue function achieved by the injection of healthy replacement cells,” said Geron’s president and CEO. Dr. Thomas B. Okarma.

“The neurosurgical community is very excited by this new approach to treating devastating spinal cord injury,” said Dr. Richard Fessler, a professor of neurological surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

While, according to the article this doesn’t have much to do with the recent shift from hating science and its beauty to embracing truth (the shift from Bush to Obama), it is pretty exciting. Stem cells are wonderful things. If some major theraputic treatment does not arise out of these cells, I’ll be awfully surprised (and the scientific community). I think it may be safe enough to say if many treatments do not come from stem cells, the surprise will be huge around the world. These far-from-conscious cells are the future of medical science.

Goodbye evil

Evil exits

Obama: Science to be at top of agenda

The beauty that is science has suffered horribly in the past 8 years thanks to the idiocy of the Republicans. It’s such a relief to know that Jesus H. Obama is going to bring the United States up to code with the rest of the sane world and, again, put science at the top.

CHICAGO – Seeking to draw a distinction with President George W. Bush, Barack Obama named his top science and technology advisers Saturday and pledged to “once again put science at the top of our agenda.”

And what a distinction it is. From denying global warming for so many years, to having the gall to suggest that intelligent design is somehow related to science in any way, Bush’s level of interest in science and truth is about equal to Bobby Jindal’s.

Obama said history has shown that the greatest scientific discoveries – from landing on the moon to inventing the Internet – didn’t happen without support from the government and its leaders.

We love our toilet paper, but we don’t want to learn about the path that led to it. (I have to be fair here. It wasn’t simply science – necessity played its fair role.)

Taking a veiled jab at Bush, Obama said the scientific process is about evidence and facts that “are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.”

“It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient,” Obama said. “Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as president of the United States – and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.”

He announced Dr. John Holdren, a Harvard University professor, as assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Jane Lubchenco, an environmental scientist and marine ecologist at Oregon State University, is Obama’s choice for administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Obama also named co-chairs of the Council of Advisers on Science and Technology: Harold Varmus, a Nobel Prize winner, and Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard.

It’s so nice to see a president who is making his appointments based upon the candidates actually being, I don’t know, qualified. No former International Arabian Horse Association commissioner for this administration.

Dodgeshoe

I bet it would be very difficult to get Bush out in a game of dodgeball.

Kentucky is defended by a god

Specifically, it’s defended by the god we all know so well.

Under state law, God is Kentucky’s first line of defense against terrorism.

The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as “stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.”

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God’s benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.”

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

As amended, Homeland Security’s religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

This is utterly ridiculous. Aside from obviously being unconstitutional, it makes a mockery of public security. If we are to rely on invisible entities for our protection, we’re in trouble. God doesn’t buy nuclear response forces or direct funds for communication security, issues, and protection. Man does this. Always has, always will.

Looking to a god for our homeland security is like black people looking to Bush after Katrina. He’s invisible and not going to help anyone.